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Mom not so keen on daughter’s beau

Fri., Dec. 2, 2011

Hi, Carolyn: My daughter is 21 and finishing up her senior year in college. She has been dating a man she met in school for nearly two years, and they are talking about getting engaged. I have been supportive of this relationship … until a couple of weeks ago.

We spent three days visiting them, and I began to not feel so good about it. He is waiting to get serious about a job search until he knows where she will be going to graduate school. She is putting more effort into the applications for graduate schools in the geographic area he can most easily get a job rather than those schools with better programs that will help her career.

Also, she is athletic and active where he is slow and sluggish. He was with us for every meal, every day … and seemed comfortable allowing us to pay his way. Perhaps I am being too picky, but I think that indicates something about character.

I wish they would postpone engagement until they are started on their post-graduate lives. My dilemma is what (if anything) to say. – Worried mom

Nothing. The less you say, the more credibility you have when you say something – and you’ll want that credibility when you have bigger things to say than, “He’s sluggish.”

I’ll scooch out on a limb and venture that you raised your daughter with great care, and take pride in what both you and she have achieved. And, accordingly, you have the odd misfortune of having ambitious dreams for your child that hover within reach.

That’s the kind of setup that makes a perfectly decent guy, as this one appears to be, seem like a crisis.

But unless he’s in the grip of a major untreated illness or addiction, or cruel to your daughter, or reckless with her safety, money, feelings or the truth – or if he brings out these troubling behaviors in her – your daughter isn’t at risk of anything a healthy 21-year-old can’t manage perfectly well on her own.


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